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A PC for Morrowind

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First post, by Almoststew1990

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I've been enjoying oblivion on my normal PC and want to give Morrowind a go as it is so well regarded. But whilst it will run on Windows 10 x64 I want to play it on a more era specific PC at 4:3. So, what hardware should I use?

The wiki recommends 800MHz, 256Mb Ram, Geforce 2 GTS.

I've got a Slot A 800MHz. I've got a P4 1.8GHz and 2.4GHz. I've got a nvidia MX440, 6600LE, TnT2. I'm also thinking about buying new hardware.

What sort of hardware was available when Morrowind released? Could it be run on high settings at 1024*768 on this hardware? What hardware would you go down for an ultimate Morrowind retro build?

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Reply 1 of 20, by stamasd

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Morrowind was released in 2002. I remember playing it a year or two later on an Athlon XP and it worked fine. I think I had a GF4Ti4200.

I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O

Reply 2 of 20, by DosFreak

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These were my specs in September of 2002:
DosFreak's Superl33t DIY box

My save games show a date of 3-8-2003 but I deleted alot of the older saves so I'm sure I was playing the game with those specs.

Can't remember the res I used either had to be 1280 or 1600.

I know I was getting 30fps at 1600x1200 in Doom 3 so likely 1600.

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Reply 3 of 20, by vvbee

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I had a voodoo 3 and it wouldn't run, so upgraded to a geforce 2. Rich people had geforce 3/4 and cool water effects, so use a geforce 4.

Played it for a few days, thought it was an awkward game, and got sucked into gothic.

Reply 4 of 20, by swaaye

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Morrowind is very demanding for how it looks and when it came out. In order to build their open world, Bethesda made some compromises on efficiency. It takes a Athlon 64 or high-end P4 to really push the frame rate up. GPU like a Radeon 9800 or GeForce 5900 is a good point.

The XBox version, which was one of the most buggy console games ever released AFAIK, with special leniency from MS's QA dept, is also not exactly a smooth experience from a performance standpoint. 😀

Reply 5 of 20, by Anonymous Coward

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This was the last PC game I ever played. At the time I had a Tualeron 1200 with 512MB and a Radeon 9600 Pro. The game seemed to work okay with that, but you probably wouldn't want anything much slower.

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Reply 6 of 20, by cyclone3d

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Basically throw as much as you can at it. It plays wonderfully on a much newer system.

For an "Ultimate" Morrowind build, I would just run it on your normal PC.

Hardware of the same vintage as the game doesn't run it very well. It actually kind of really sucks. I like 60+ fps for almost all my games.

There is a patch to make it work on systems with more than 4GB of RAM as well as a ton of mods that make it look better.

I never used any mods, except for the official add-ons.

I also made a few of my own because the quantity of money the merchants normally have really sucks and the weight limit really sucks.

Easy way to "fix" the weight limit thing is to take note of something in your inventory, then exit your game, go into the toolkit, edit that specific item to weigh a huge amount, save the mod, load it up in your game, then drop that item. Instant unlimited carrying capability.

Only thing to look out for is the backpack menu gets really slow once you have over a certain amount of stuff.

I also used a mod that lets you use unlimited rings and necklaces... I'm gonna be walking around blinged out like Mr. T. thanks you very much!

And something really fun to do is make high end magic armor that is damaging to the wearer. (make sure you make a marchant respawn mod). Then sell the item to the merchant. They will then jerk around for a while and eventually die. You can then loot their corpse and their store without getting in trouble. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

https://www.reddit.com/r/Morrowind/comments/1 … owind_improved/
https://steamcommunity.com/app/22320/discussi … 01877496743831/
https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Morrowind:Ini_Settings
https://www.tweaktown.com/guides/316/the_elde … uide/index.html
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https://www.mwmythicmods.com/argent/tech/tweaks.html

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Reply 7 of 20, by nforce4max

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You could do a period correct system using the usual hardware though the cost is slowly rising so I recommend going with something newer and cheaper that being around the mid to late 2000s give or take of what is around that doesn't suck yet doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Bone stock the game doesn't need much to run it compared to games like Oblivion and Bioshock but one you upgrade the textures (texture pack mod) you are going to want something more than a GF2/3/4.

On a far away planet reading your posts in the year 10,191.

Reply 8 of 20, by ODwilly

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Heck how about a 3.0ghz or so dual core of some sort, 4gb of ram and a pcie X1950 or something like that? Cheap, parts readily available and has the potential to be used for all sorts of stuff.

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Reply 9 of 20, by badmojo

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Yep I play it on an i5 / 1060GTX + a handful of mods and it looks / plays beautiful. I can post my mod list if you're interested - I don't use anything fancy, mainly texture replacements.

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Reply 10 of 20, by appiah4

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I really doubt that an ancient engine like Morrowind, designed around the idea of running on the original XBOX (a P3 class CPU) is capable of benefiting from multi-threading AT ALL. My advice would be to run it on the fastest single core CPU you can throw at it. I run it on my Athlon64 3200+ Socket 754 build and it's ample CPU power for that engine. A top of the line P4 or a P4 EE would also be a good choice.

The issue you will probably have is the video card though. What you want is a card with programmable shaders and very high pixel/fillrates. Radeon 9800PRO and above is enough for stable 30+ fps at even 1600x1200, an X850PRO would probably be even better and my X1950PRO AGP smokes the game easily. On the nVidia side I'd guess a 6800 class card would cut it, but a 7800 or 8800 would probably also run the game without breaking a sweat.

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Reply 11 of 20, by Almoststew1990

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It sounds like it needs much higher specs than the recommended for a smooth 60fps experience and a high end PC from 2002 will run badly. Ah well I was only going to have some fun building a new PC specific for 2002/3 if it would run great on it. I'll just stick it on my S775 system in my sig below and maybe mess with mods!

Ryzen 3700X | 16GB 3600MHz RAM | AMD 6800XT | 2Tb NVME SSD | Windows 10
AMD DX2-80 | 16MB RAM | STB LIghtspeed 128 | AWE32 CT3910
I have a vacancy for a main Windows 98 PC

Reply 12 of 20, by henryVK

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I was kind of a generation behind when Morrowind came out. It was all but unplayable on my 900 MHz Athlon and GeForce 2 MX.

My next PC was something like a P4 2400 MHz with a Radeon 9XXX SE, and that one ran the original Morrowind flawlessly.

Reply 13 of 20, by badmojo

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Here's how it can look on a modern machine with some tweaking:

Morrowind%202018-08-23%2023.10.10.748_zps1ujxjmdx.jpg

And here are the notes I took while modding - more extensive than I remember but a pretty easy process:

-- install the game of the year WITH BOTH expansions (Tribunal BEFORE Bloodmoon)

-- run the game once because why not?

-- Morrowind Code Patch-19510-2-4.7z
- extract to the game dir and run the exe
- turn off skill/attribute uncapping when installing it (they default to off).

-- exeopt1.9.7z
- copy the .exe to the game folder and run
- if it doesn't find Morrowind installed then manually find it

-- MorrowindGameOfTheYearv1.6.1820NoCDPatchEng
- copy all to the game dir and run the .exe

-- Patch 1.6.3b-43838-1-6-3b.rar

UI:

-- Modern User Interface-42526-1-0.7z
-- Smaller Crosshair-42526-1-0.7z
-- Better Dialogue Font-36873.7z


Textures:

-- MeshImprovements171.rar
-- Morrowind VanillaPlus textures-45813-1-2.zip
-- Armor Weapons and Clothes-45813-1-2.zip
-- Better Heads-42226-1-1.rar
-- Better Bodies-42399-2-2.rar
- perm undies
-- Vurts Groundcover V2dot3-31051-1.rar
-- Vurts Bitter Coast Tree II v1dot1-37489-1.7z
-- DNWeaponsComplete.zip
-- HD Concept-art splash screen and main menu-43081-1-0.rar
-- Signposts Retextured 1-2-42126-1-2.7z

Gameplay:

-- RUN FASTER -Faster Running Speed v1-42796-1-0
- use 'Fast'
-- Accurate Attack v1_2-23746.rar
-- galsiahs_character_development_v107c.zip
- all main .esp
- settings, fairly easy

-- TribunalDelay-33973.zip


-- FINAL:

* run Morrowind Graphics Extender (MGE) and generate distant land with all Groundcover .esp's enabled.

* Run through MGE options, use the Instructions tab!
- shader = Very High
- FOV = 95

* Untick all Groundcover mods in the Morrowind launcher otherwise you can't walk through the grass.

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Reply 14 of 20, by Kerr Avon

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swaaye wrote:

Morrowind is very demanding for how it looks and when it came out. In order to build their open world, Bethesda made some compromises on efficiency. It takes a Athlon 64 or high-end P4 to really push the frame rate up. GPU like a Radeon 9800 or GeForce 5900 is a good point.

The XBox version, which was one of the most buggy console games ever released AFAIK, with special leniency from MS's QA dept, is also not exactly a smooth experience from a performance standpoint. 😀

From the little I played of the XBox version, it was playable enough, but that's providing you don't mind a low/unstable frame-rate, i.e. you haven't been spoilt by playing it, or other games, on a decent PC. And yes, the XBox version was, as you say, one of the most bugged console games ever, not just with the many bugs it copied from the PC version, but even going so far as to have serious problems with it's own save games 😢 The more you did/explored/carried in the game, the larger your game saves become, and this could cause problems, so you were advised to never overwrite a game save directly, instead you should delete the save then create your new save, and where possible use tricks to lessen the size of the game save file, such as; always close a door behind you (so the game didn't have to keep track of open doors), don't pick up anything you don't want, and something about putting stuff you don't want somewhere then going elsewhere and waiting for three (in-game) days before you save.

It also doesn't look great:

437208-the-elder-scrolls-iii-morrowind-xbox-screenshot-locals-banter.jpg

But then the PC version wasn't a game you'd use to showcase your new graphics card either.

Lots of bugs were fixed in the XBox's game of the year edition, but lots apparently weren't, and probably some were added accidentally. I don't know if the save game problem was eased but I'm sure it wasn't completely fixed.

So yes, the PC version of Morrowind was much more desirable than the console game, since it had a much better frame-rate (your PC permitting), and especially because later on there were some (apparently really good and detailed) fan-made fixes to rid the PC version of it's many bugs. Plus the PC version supports countless great mods which extends the game's appeal massively to it's fans.

But the XBox game was well worth having for fans of the genre who either didn't have a capable PC, or who just preferred playing games on a console. And this was back in the day when the difference in cost between a games console and a PC capable of running games at average quality was much bigger than it is now, which was another reason why some people might settle for the XBox version.

437212-the-elder-scrolls-iii-morrowind-xbox-screenshot-imperial-garrisons.jpg

And actually the XBox version could be modded, provided your XBox had been hacked to play non-official discs. It could play a fair amount of the mods that were made for the PC version, though since the XBox only has 64MB of RAM (which is shared between the system and the graphical hardware) the limiting factor was memory as much as it was the overall game-performance.

MiniMorrowindMod v2.2 is an all-in-one collection for the XBox, which adds lots of fixed and improvements to the game.

Edit: Badmojo, that looks beautiful!

Also, has anyone tried OpenMW, the open source fan-made Morrowind game engine from:

https://openmw.org/en/

According to the FAQ:

How is OpenMW/OpenMW-CS different from the original Morrowind engine?

Native support for macOS, Linux, and Windows
Improved physics and AI
Distant terrain [and without bringing your frame-rate down to slideshow figures]
Save/Load dialogs organized by character
Quality of life UI improvements, such as being able to search for spells
Multiple quicksaves
World map adjusts automatically to fit new landmass from mods such as Tamriel Rebuilt
Support for up to 2147483646 loaded mods (up from 255 in the original Morrowind engine)
Since it was made from scratch, virtually no engine bugs from the original Morrowind
And much more (see https://wiki.openmw.org/index.php?title=Features for a more complete list).

Additionally, OpenMW can be used for running entirely new games created with OpenMW-CS.


Can OpenMW run Morrowind mods?

If the mod is compatible with the original Morrowind engine, then it is very likely that OpenMW will be able to run it. If you have trouble getting a mod to work, post a topic on our mod compatibility sub-forum and we can help.

Mods that require Morrowind Script Extender (MWSE), Morrowind Graphics Extender (MGE), Morrowind Code Patch (MCP), or similar functionality extenders are not compatible at this time. The current goal of OpenMW is to create a replacement for the original Morrowind engine, not third-party extensions that modders have created over the years. This may be a future goal, however.

Note that some features from MGE and MCP are already implemented in OpenMW natively.

Why is the version number less than 1.0? Is OpenMW incomplete?

Don’t let the version number being less than 1.0 fool you: OpenMW is more stable and less buggy than the original Morrowind game engine and only lacks a few minor features.

Reaching version 1.0 signals that it has reached feature parity with the original Morrowind game engine. After that, the project will change directions and de-hardcode Morrowind game mechanics, improve modder tools, and add many new features beyond the original game engine. See this document for the complete post-1.0 roadmap.

Reply 15 of 20, by swaaye

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The original Xbox also couldn't receive any patches from what I understand. Even with its hard disk. That seemed like a strange limitation. I have a feeling XBox hard drives remained rather empty for most people. Some portion of it does get used for disk caching of the DVD though.

I shudder at the thought of trying to play Morrowind v1.0 to completion. 😁 It used to crash to desktop every 30 mins or so on PC, and I remember the game getting noticeably faster after patches too.

Reply 17 of 20, by Garrett W

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I have to agree with posts like appiah4 and badmojo, there is little sense in playing Morrowind on period correct systems, that game was an absolute hog. I remember renting it with my older brother and running it on his Pentium III 733 and GeForce2 MX back in late 2002. It was barely playable, but we pushed on because of just how mindblowing it was to us at the time. Some weeks later I saw Daggerfall for the first time as well at a friend's house and appreciated the difference in technology. I'd honestly play it on your current setup with some mods applied like badmojo recommended.

The XBOX version is a peculiar thing and I did have a couple of friends that beat it on their OG XBOX back then and it was actually their only experience of Morrowind until somewhat recently. What a pain! Digital Foundry had an interesting video on this version in particular, mostly because it got official backwards compatibility for XBOX One. Worth a watch:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekCq5K9cm54

Reply 18 of 20, by swaaye

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I'm somewhat surprised the weak CPUs in the XBox One can run it that well. I imagine it's mostly running on one core. The view distance is not impressive though, but that could be a default setting they left alone.

Reply 19 of 20, by Kerr Avon

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swaaye wrote:

The original Xbox also couldn't receive any patches from what I understand. Even with its hard disk. That seemed like a strange limitation. I have a feeling XBox hard drives remained rather empty for most people. Some portion of it does get used for disk caching of the DVD though.

I shudder at the thought of trying to play Morrowind v1.0 to completion. 😁 It used to crash to desktop every 30 mins or so on PC, and I remember the game getting noticeably faster after patches too.

No, the XBox could and did download patches for it's games. The first one was for Unreal Championship, a not great game that went on to be ported to the PC as Unreal Tournament 2003, and even though the PC version was better and had more content than the XBox version, both versions were (to me) utterly inferior to the earlier PC game Unreal Tournament (released in 1999).

Unreal Championship was rushed out to be the first game for the then brand-new online gaming service XBox Live!, and the game had quite a few bugs which were fixed in a downloadable patch. A fair few other games had patches, either for bug fixes or to add more content (sort of very early DLC). And thus was born the start of console games being released in a bugged state and needing post-release patches (unless the Dreamcast or PS2 invented it first, I don't know).

I'm 99.9% certain that neither XBox version (either vanilla or the GOTY edition) received a downloadable patch for the game, though they deserved to. The other XBox game that I know *really* needed a patch was Thief: Deadly Shadows, as it had the same bug as the PC version of the game, where *every* time you crossed a loading zone, the skill setting was reset to medium, which was bad for those of us who liked the game and wanted to play it against challenging A.I. (medium and below skill levels severely handicapped the A.I.).

Regarding the XBox hard drive, early models of the original XBox had a ten or twelve gigabyte hard drive, and later models had a twenty GB one, though I think the size increase was just because it was easier to for Microsoft to buy 20GB ones by that time, rather than to enable the XBox to store more. The XBox stored date from games to allow them to load faster; it had three partitions set up for this, one for each game, then the forth game you play (providing the game uses the copy-this-data-to-the-hard-drive-for-faster-loading-in-future, will be emptied and then loaded with the new game's data. That way, the last three games played on an XBox would load quicker, provided the game used that idea.

The hard drive also stores the game saves, any music that the user wants to store on there (which you put on via your audio-CDs, then you can play the stored songs from the hard drive via the dashboard (the XBox's main control screen) or in any XBox game that allows you to play your songs in game, these games included Grand Theft Auto 3, GTA: Vice City, and GTA San Andreas.

Thankfully the XBox uses a standard IDE hard drive, so it was easy to replace it with a higher capacity one if your XBox was modded and you wanted to install the full XBox games to the hard drive for ease of use and faster loading (using freely available software by some very clever hackers).

Swaaye, I think you're right, the XBox had a single core Pentium 3 733MHz CPU if I recall correctly